Monday, December 6, 2010

I originally wrote this letter with the intent of sending it out to my family members. I felt a strong desire to work within my sphere of influence to increase understanding about the issue. It is my hope that members of the Church will eventually be informed enough to know how to respond constructively to individuals who experience feelings of same-gender attraction. I also believe that this change is not going to happen in a "top-down" fashion. Rather as those of us with personal experience open up and share with those we know personally, compassion and understanding will blossom.

As I re-read this letter, I realized that I really didn't give any clear suggestions as to what they could do to help someone with SSA. It didn't serve the purpose for which I had written it. Nevertheless, I think there are some really good things in here. The thought came to post this on the blog, so here it is:

A segment about same-gender attraction and Mormons, aired on ABC's Nightline last night. Another piece was done on Fox 13 in Utah.

As, I watched both and reflected on them, I've had a number of feelings come to me. I've felt a need to write some of my feelings down and share them with my family. I know the email is long, so I won't be offended if anyone doesn't read the whole thing.

The first is a gratitude for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, taught in its fullness through the Restored Church. I've lived through some very difficult circumstances. These trials and challenges have had an enormous impact on who I am today. I don't know that my life has been uniquely challenging. I can only speak about my own experiences and how I perceived them. I know that the the mortal afflictions I've experienced, have had the power to bring me closer to Christ. Through them I've learned what it means to rely wholly on the merits of Him who is mighty to save. I've been taught how to be humble; I've grown in charity, towards myself and my fellow men.

I feel a need to bear testimony that Heavenly Father does love each of us as his children. He is anxiously waiting for us to turn to Him, to open our hearts to His power and his love. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to save us from ourselves. It allows us to grow and become more like our Father. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true and living church--that the men called as leaders are called by God.

Over the last three years, I have worked through issues relating to my feelings of same-gender attraction. It has been quite a journey! I am grateful that Heavenly Father has guided that journey (as much as I've allowed Him to). A critical part of my healing has been counseling with an inspired, well-trained therapist. Journey into Manhood, the weekend that is featured in the Nightline segment, also had a profound impact on me. These are some of the means God used to heal me. I know that if I had trusted in either of these resources as my sole support, they would have failed. But with a foundation of Faith in Christ, a testimony of the plan of salvation, and an open heart and a willing mind, I was able to grow, overcome the obstacles of mortality, and become more like Heavenly Father.

Like Lehi, one of my greatest desires since tasting of the peace and joy that are available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ has been to help others find that fruit. It is natural for me to wish, like Alma, that I would accomplish that through great and miraculous means--like the voice of an angel. But I'm learning that the Lord really does work by small and simple things. Like me bearing testimony to my family members and friends who at some point may in turn be in a position to help someone else.

There is so much debate in the world about same-gender attraction. Far too often the issue becomes polarized, which leaves many conflicted, confused, and lost. I am grateful for living prophets who have testified of the truth of the plan of salvation and make very clear what is right and wrong. I am grateful that they speak of foundational principles: faith, repentance, prayer, scripture reading, fasting. These principles apply to everyone and are essential to growth and progress. . I am also grateful for Apostles who teach that through these means, we are able to receive guidance through the Holy Ghost that will be individualized and tailored to our circumstances. Sometimes that guidance will come through a variety of different means, such as good books, inspired priesthood leaders, trained professionals. Which tools we use and how we apply the things we hear or read is done as directed by the Spirit.

But sometimes, members of the Church (especially those with challenges like same-gender attraction) can become convinced that these foundational steps are the entire process. Many may be like I was, and strive diligently to do everything they are taught. But if those things are done without a broken heart, without humility and a true willingness to learn, even true principles like fasting and prayer will not provide resolution to our challenges. This can be the cause of a great dilemma. Individuals may feel that they have tried to live the gospel, to do all the things they should do, and still are not happy. Most are sincere in their desperation. The conflict between what they believe to be true and what they are experiencing is very intense. Unfortunately, many find relief from that conflict by abandoning their beliefs and surrendering to the natural man. Though they cannot ever find happiness in sin, they can experience a reduction of the conflict, which reinforces their choice.

I believe that it is part of our covenant to bear one anothers burdens to help those who may struggle with same-gender attraction. The issue carries a very negative stigma with it. This feeling of shame can discourage those who need help and support from reaching out. We as a church are making great progress in combating this problem of ignorance and judgment. The General Authorities are making an effort to increase awareness and compassion. There is another area where we as members of the church can also make progress. We can be more informed about the issue and about the resources available to those who are struggling. I've come to understand that this is not the duty of the Brethren. Part of that obligation rests on me and others who have personal experience to share our experience and offer our testimonies and our support.

That's why I've typed this incredibly long email. It is my hope that you would feel of my testimony. Maybe what I have shared today won't mean anything to the majority of those who read it. But perhaps one of you knows someone who is affected by same-gender attraction who wants desperately to do what is right and be happy, but may not know how to do that. I'm very open to questions or comments. I am very willing to share more about my experiences if asked.

Thanks to the rest who still read this.

With Love,


The link to the Nightline episode is

Fox 13's piece can be found at:,0,3499131.story

These two articles are what the Church has recently issued about the issue of same-gender attraction:

Other resources for Same-Gender Attraction include

www.peoplecanchange,com (the official site of the Journey into Manhood program)
and -- both organizations for LDS members with same-gender attraction who want to live in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Semester Forecast

Well, the preliminary reports are in. It looks like this is going to be an awesome semester. Sure, I'm taking two introductory science courses. Those are going to be kinda sucky. I've really liked upper level psych classes, so a freshman general isn't my idea of fun. But, at least they won't be very hard. My two psych classes are going to be fun.

I'm also way excited to take an institute class this semester. I love the peace and perspective the gospel bring to my life. At times, the folks at institute can be a bit simple in their understanding of the gospel. I may have to work on not becoming cynical and annoyed with their ignorance. But I'm looking forward to devoting time in my life to further study and understanding.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And So It Begins

I'm sitting in class waiting for my professor to start, and I'm thinking, "Wow, it's really here!"

Summer is long gone. Now it's back into the fray. I'm taking a lot more classes than I have in the last 3 years. Plus, my father-in-law still has some work that he wants me to do on the afternoons I'm not in classes. It's crazy.

But I'm really excited. I may have to drop a class if it turns out I'm not up to everything, but that's cool.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Opened Eyes

So, I've recently spoken with a young man who has helped me better understand that people differ from each other. I've come to see more clearly that the path which has worked for me--that the Lord has prepared for me--is not the only path for other people. I still believe that true happiness is to be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Plan of Salvation--the Plan of Happiness--is designed to make us happy. I love that. I know that.

I also know that for some, the Lord's time-line is different. I am not saying that we just give up for this life and do whatever feels good. However, we all need to have an open heart and a willingness to do whatever we are prompted. Having the courage and strength to pursue those promptings faithfully in spite of difficulty. . . That's what we need the Savior for.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I want to keep this post short so more people will read it.

I am happy. Really, truly, deeply happy. I'm attracted to men. I'm in a monogamous heterosexual marriage. I'm active in the Church. I have a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I experience joy on a daily basis.

I want everyone to know that I've found peace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement can do so much more than fix sin! While I'm far from perfect and I still have my share of difficulties, that peace is undeniable. It is unchanging.

I'm happy. Really, that's all I've ever wanted. I think that's what we're all really after. The problem we face is figuring out what will actually bring that happiness. I know I have only found this level of peace and joy through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The End.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireside Report

Here is an expanded version of the Fireside Report that I prepared for North Star. Bravone also helped put this together, but I wrote most of it in the first person. I know that there was some level of opposition to the whole idea of the fireside in the first place, especially since we were in full support of the doctrine of the Church. I truly believe that the Spirit of the Lord was present, and that the fireside went just like Heavenly Father wanted it to. Anyway, here's the report:

When I started actively dealing with my own same-gender attraction almost three years ago, I could never have even imagined anything like this evening. I felt so alone, so misunderstood, and so hopeless. I felt helpless to fix things in my life and in my marriage. I am eternally grateful for the blessing of supportive friends, loving family, and righteous priesthood leaders who chose to let their light shine, guiding me to the source of true healing: the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

As my wife Ashley and I began to find peace and resolution to our own trials with the issue, we felt a powerful desire to reach out to others. With her support and the guidance of the Spirit, I organized a support group for men dealing with same-gender attraction. We now have a strong group of amazing men. About a year ago, I started feeling that the Lord wanted something more. The ideas for this fireside started to flow. The Lord blessed our efforts. Things came together. And here we are reporting on one of the most amazing things that has ever happened in my life.

I talked with Steve about putting a fireside together in our area about nine months ago. He was super supportive, but neither of us knew quite what to do. A few months later, the Lord impressed on my mind that He was very serious about this fireside idea. My wife and I brainstormed a few ideas, and I contacted our Area Authority to propose the event. He was supportive, but told me that I would need a Stake President to host such a fireside. I told Steve, and reported that I was going to set up an appointment with my Stake President. He said that he already had an appointment with his and offered to bring it up.

President Bowen was extremely supportive, and with his green light, we started inviting speakers. President Bowen worked with the Area Authority to send the word out to 60 local Stake Presidents. I had to take the initiative and type up all of the publicity stuff. I know I'm certainly not the best at that, but I did what I could. The decision on how to pass the word on (or not) stayed with the individual Stake Presidents. We had no idea how many people to expect. In all, over 400 people were in attendance.

I opened the fireside with a few instructions on the evening and I suggested a few thoughts for the participants to keep in mind about the issue. “First, people often use the same words to mean different things. Tonight you may hear words such as gay, homosexual, same-gender, or same-sex attraction used in different ways. Please be careful about making judgments based on your own definitions of these words. If necessary, ask for clarification.

Second, tonight, you will likely hear many suggestions and ideas. Some may resonate with you. Others may not. That’s okay. Not all solutions will work for all people. We are all unique individuals in different places in our journeys. Only the Lord can help you know how to apply these suggestions or ideas to your own personal and unique circumstances.

Finally, there may also be times this evening when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone. For many, just showing up here has already done that. One of our greatest challenges as members of the Church is to dispel the shadows of fear and shame that surround this issue. This can only be done by bringing it into the open and exposing it to the light of the Son. The ways we talk about same-gender attraction, the extent to which we are open in our discussions with each other and especially with our youth—This is what is going to determine whether or not those who feel alone and discouraged because of their same-gender attraction will have the courage to reach out for help. Creating an atmosphere of love and acceptance where that can happen, and responding compassionately to the reaching of others is a central part of our covenants to follow Jesus Christ. Please be patient with others and with yourselves as we seek to better understand how we can keep our covenants in regards to this issue.

I recognize that all of us have our own challenges and trials. I know that they are unique to each individual. But I also know that the most effective solution to every one of our trials and challenges is found within the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Atonement of our Savior, we can find the promised peace and joy we seek. That happiness can come to us regardless of, and in part, because of our mortal circumstances. It is my prayer that the Spirit of the Lord will be with each of us tonight to help us learn how we can more effectively access the power of the Atonement in our own lives and teach us how we can help others to do the same. “
We then broke out into four different sessions: Men who experience SSA, Women who Experience SSA, Friends and Family, and Priesthood Leaders.

I participated in the Men’s group. We had a talk from a former Stake and Mission President. His remarks were pretty generic. I do remember him saying very clearly two different times, “We are sons of a living Heavenly Father who loves each of us.” Other than that, the only thing that really stuck out was a letter he asked his wife to read. It was from his Son, who experiences SSA and is just returning to the Church. It was such a special and powerful testimony.

Next, a clinical psychologist spoke to us. His words were addressed to us, and at times dealt with the actual attractions. Most of the time, though, they dealt with the emotional wounds we as SSA men have experienced. The Spirit spoke to me many times, pointing out areas in my life that I needed to address as well as areas God had already started to heal.

At the beginning of the Question and Answer Panel, we didn’t have any questions. One brave man offered a question. We didn’t have enough time to answer even close to all of the questions. One comment really struck me. Answering a question, Ty Mansfield, suggested that SSA is not a single issue. Rather, it is a combination of many different emotional, psychological, spiritual, and even purely physiological wants, needs, and challenges. Sometimes, we can address the emotional, psychological, and spiritual issues. Other times, the issue at hand is little more than sexual energy that simply needs to be rechanneled into different facets of life.

The Friends and Family session was our largest group with over 200 people. Fred Matis spoke first. The message was that loved ones dealing with same-gender attraction need to be loved. This challenge may be a big deal to them, but it isn’t their defining characteristic. They need to know that they are loved, accepted, and supported in all aspects of their lives. Ashley Lindley touched on three points from Elder Holland’s Ensign Article: we must reach out in love to those who struggle, marriage is possible but it certainly isn’t a solution, and we should keep our lines of communication open. The Question and Answer panel was a great opportunity for those close to the issue to see other families who are in similar situations. Both those with loved ones who have strayed from the gospel as well as those who are supporting a loved one’s decision to live righteously were given encouragement and hope.

President Brad Bowen began the session for Priesthood Leaders by expressing his love for those who experience same gender attraction and gave a few personal experiences he has had as a priesthood leader working with both those who have desires to remain faithful to the covenants they have made and a few who felt that, because of their 'identity,' they needed to pursue a homosexual relationship. He encouraged priesthood leaders to recognize same gender attracted individuals as sons and daughters of God who live with a 'thorn in the flesh,' much as did Paul, and that just having same sex desires is not a sin. He emphasized that if an individual has not acted on these feelings, he is as worthy of serving in any capacity as anyone else. He also reminded all of the cleansing power of the atonement. Dan Barnes, a therapist at BYUI gave an excellent talk on his opinion of how, based on his professional experience, priesthood leaders could help individuals who are same gender attracted. He focused on helping dispel shame, showing compassion, and helping one overcome addictions that may fuel SSA feelings. One prevailing message was that some may never marry, and leaders should not encourage it as a cure, but rather help individuals understand that personal happiness can be found living the principles of the gospel and relying on the enabling power of the atonement.

This fireside was simply breathtaking; not only in its scope, but also in the depth of the Spirit that was present. Was it perfect? No. It is impossible in that amount of time to say everything. Our audience was very diverse, which made it difficult to offer specific solutions, even in the breakout sessions. In spite of these limitations, I feel that the Lord’s will was accomplished. Many lives were touched. Progress was made. I am truly humbled to have been a part of this work. It will go forward. Future Firesides will be held in our area, and interest has been expressed in using this model for Firesides in other areas. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us. I testify that the surest path to happiness and peace in this life and the next is to be found through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SSA Fireside in Idaho Falls

I wanted to announce the Fireside I've been working on. I posted earlier calling for volunteers, but it's now put together and it's almost here!

Here's the flier that's been sent out:

Finding Joy in the Journey

An evening of education and hope for individuals who experience same-gender attraction, their families, friends, and priesthood leaders

Date: Sunday June 27th, 2010
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Location: Idaho Falls North Stake Memorial Building (Next to the Temple)

In harmony with efforts by the First Presidency to approach the challenge of same-gender attraction with a new level of compassion and understanding, everyone is invited to participate in this unique fireside to strengthen their testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You are welcome whether you experience this challenge personally, know someone who does, or just want to understand the issue better

This special fireside will include instruction and encouragement for Priesthood Leaders, for those who experience same-gender attraction, and for friends and family. Presenters will include Priesthood Leaders and Mental Health Professionals. We are also honored to announce that Ty Mansfield, world-renowned author of In Quiet Desperation, will be our feature speaker.

For more information contact:
Kevin Lindley at (208) 201-8306 or

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent out to 60 Stakes in Southeast Idaho:

We live in a time of increasing difficulty and temptation. The world is relentless in its efforts to ensnare Latter-Day Saints. One particularly devastating and challenging trial faced by many members of the Church is same-gender attraction. This unwanted difficulty is increasingly common. While the percentage of individuals who embrace alternate lifestyles is small, nearly 10% of people experience feelings of sexual attraction to members of the same sex. The nature of this trial leads far too many of our members to become discouraged and abandon hope. Far too many fall away from the sweet peace that the Gospel can bring.

Recently, the First Presidency and other Leaders of the Church have made an effort to approach same-gender attraction with a new level of compassion and understanding. Elder Jeffery R. Holland wrote an article for the Ensign which was published shortly after the release of the new pamphlet God Loveth His Children. Reading these documents, it is clear that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve recognize the need for us to reach out in love and understanding to those who experience same-gender attraction.

To that end, we have organized a fireside designed for all members of the Church: individuals who experience same-gender attraction and Priesthood Leaders, as well as every parent and friend in the church. We invite your stake or ward to participate in this unique opportunity. Please make an effort to let every member know about this invaluable learning experience. This special fireside will include specific instruction for you as Priesthood Leaders, for those who experience same-gender attraction, and for friends and family. Presenters will include Priesthood Leaders and Mental Health Professionals. We are also honored to announce that Ty Mansfield, world-renowned author of In Quiet Desperation, will be our feature speaker.

We've included a flier that could be posted in your buildings. We've also included an announcement to add to your bulletin for the next couple of weeks. Additionally, we encourage you to consider announcing this event from the pulpit. Perhaps you are aware of individuals who would benefit from this fireside; they would most-likely benefit from a special personal invitation for them to attend.

Thank you sincerely for your efforts in reaching out to those who struggle daily with this incredibly difficult and often misunderstood challenge. As we all strive to increase our understanding and compassion, we will be better able to offer the Christ-like love and support so desperately needed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Peace, Joy, and Happiness

I’ve been pondering a lot about happiness and the gospel of Jesus Christ lately. I will admit that such reflection is due in part to a number of conversations here on North Star, but the topic has been on my mind for some time thanks to the circumstances of my personal life. I have experienced a number of insights that I would like to share. I do so hesitantly. For some, my words may seem harsh or unfeeling. For others, they may come across as weak. Nevertheless, I truly believe that someone might benefit from the thoughts and feelings I have had. That possibility is enough to move me to risk. I am extending myself and being vulnerable.

I am motivated by a deep love for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and a burning desire to help my brothers feel of the peace, love, and joy that He offers regardless of their individual life circumstances. It is my hope that the rest of my post would be read and felt with that spirit. I know that I don’t have the eloquence or ability to convince anyone of anything. All I can do is share my own experiences and the thoughts that have come to my mind. So, please don’t “trifle with the words which I shall write.” (Mosiah 2:9) Instead, I would ask that you open your hearts to the influence of the Holy Ghost and sincerely seek to learn from Him how my words might apply to your life.

“Men are that they might have joy.” Happiness and it’s deeper, longer lasting cousin, Joy, are what all of us are really after in this life as well as the next. I really believe that. Everything we do is an attempt to gain or increase our happiness. Sometimes we choose temporary pleasures that bring painful consequences later. Sometimes we choose something difficult because we believe that it will bring us happiness in the future. Sometimes (maybe often) we don’t really understand how our actions are related to the search for happiness.

The Church talks about happiness a lot. The usual “recipe” for happiness typically includes keeping the commandments and understanding the Plan of Salvation. That used to really annoy me. I was keeping the commandments, and I knew the Plan of Salvation. Yet I still wasn’t happy. The recipe simply wasn’t working. I heard a bunch of Molly Mormons and Peter Priesthoods talking about how wonderful life was, and I hated it. It made me furious that they had never had any problems in their lives. Because, I was sure, the only way that a person could believe that keeping the commandments somehow equaled being happy was is they’d never really had any life experience.

However, the harder I tried to “un-believe” everything about keeping the commandments and God’s plan, the more I knew I couldn’t. I felt like Laman and Lemuel. They chose to go into the wilderness with Lehi. They could have stayed home or turned back at any time. But despite all their complaining and threatening, they never did. It was as though they couldn’t let go of what they knew, but it wasn’t bringing them the happiness they were looking for. So they followed along, resentful that they couldn’t just abandon their beliefs, complaining cynically at every opportunity.

Nephi had asked the Lord to help him believe and understand. The Lord answered his prayers. But Laman and Lemuel reported that “the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” That’s how I felt. I mean, I wasn’t perfect. I was pretty much addicted to porn and masturbation. Time after time, I tried to stop. I plead for forgiveness and for help in overcoming. I begged for some little mercy, just a taste to know that God was there, that he loved me. I got nothing. I worked so hard to be perfect in every other area of my life. Still, I was far from happy. Nothing I did could fill the aching void inside me. I started to believe that the only way I could find happiness—the only thing I hadn’t tried—was to find a relationship with another man.

But I was trapped. I wanted to turn back to Jerusalem, to leave the traditions of my fathers. But I couldn’t just ignore what I knew. I tried to find some way to justify or rationalize a romantic/sexual relationship without totally abandoning my beliefs. I got really good at it. I got picky and choosy about what I would believe and not believe. And I found a level of happiness. It worked—sort of. I was moving farther and farther from what I used to know. For the first time in my life, the void was being filled. But I was still missing something. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I did my best to push all thoughts of the missing piece far from my mind.

I’m sure many men find effective ways of keeping the feeling of missing something at bay. Some are able to ignore or repress that longing through a variety of different ways. Some build a reactive anger toward anything that reminds them of the feeling. Some become very good at distracting themselves. Some manage it until they die. They focus on the limited happiness available to them and try not to think about the missing piece. Others aren’t so lucky. They can’t seem to ignore the longing they feel and the conflicting desires just become too much. They try to escape the conflict by escaping life.

Luckily for me, the Lord had a different plan for me. My life unraveled extremely quickly. I hit the end of my rope. I could no longer ignore the war being waged inside my soul. It was killing me. I was desperate for something to change. I had to either stop living or figure something out. I am grateful that the Lord had arranged my life so that I had a real motivation to figure things out rather than end my life. He also led me to a solution to my problem.

I remembered learning some principles from this book by Elder Richard G. Scott called Finding Peace, Joy, and Happiness. He said that happiness was what God had created us for that "It can and should be the general background in which life is lived." But in order for us to be able to actually feel that happiness, we first had to have peace. Peace is an elusive little thing.

It comes in two forms. The first is peace of mind. It means that we are free from forces which would cause us unhappiness or pain. The second is peace of conscience. Peace of conscience is a natural consequence of living a life that is in harmony with keeping the commandments of God and repenting when we fall short. It is function of the Light of Christ that influences every man and woman on the earth. Without peace of conscience there can be no peace of mind. Without both forms of peace, we are not able to feel the happiness that is our nature.

Restoring peace of mind is not always easy. Sometimes, we can take relatively simple steps to resolve the conditions that interfere with our peace. Other times the process is more complex. Peace of conscience on the other hand cannot be obtained by any means other than righteous living and repentance. The discomfort caused by a lack of peace of conscience can be eased in other ways. I became very good at using rationalization to reduce the tension between my behavior and my beliefs. I also used another powerful tool: pornography. Others have used alcohol, drugs, or compulsive sex. These behaviors distract us from our lack of peace of conscience. They also have disastrous consequences.

Every time we sin and fail to fully repent, we are forced to change. The incongruity between belief and behavior creates an unbearable tension. We either have to change the behavior or change the belief. Even when I refused to completely abandon my belief (which some have successfully done), I was still having to rationalize how what I was doing could fit into my beliefs. This process did ease the tension, but it was not able to fully erase it. I still lacked a peace of conscience, because no matter how effective I was at changing my thoughts or beliefs, I could not change my spiritual sensitivity to the Light of Christ. I could ignore it, but ignoring it doesn’t bring peace of conscience. The peace can only be felt by being in harmony with God’s laws. Since none of us are able to always live in such harmony, the merciful opportunity of repentance allows us to return to a state of peace.

But even peace of conscience isn’t enough to make us feel happiness. I can have perfect peace of conscience and still be miserable. I have to also restore peace of mind. This can be very tricky. In order to resolve the issues that are interrupting peace of mind, a person needs to understand the cause of those issues. Only by getting to the root of what is behind our “un-peace of mind” are we able to figure out what we need to do to restore our peace of mind.

I had reached the point where my mind was so far from peace that I couldn’t stand it any longer. I needed peace of conscience. I was led to read Alma 31:34. Harden not their hearts. Was my heart hard? How else could I explain the failure of the Plan of Redemption—the Plan of Happiness—to take effect in my life? I had to truly repent, to come unto Christ and soften my heart. It took a lot for me to realize how stubborn I had been. I was so prideful and hard-hearted. I knew that what I had been doing hadn’t worked—hadn’t brought me the happiness I so desperately wanted. The problem I couldn’t see was that I wasn’t allowing God into my heart. I was so determined to make it on my own that I wasn’t willing to submit to His influence. Mosiah 3:19 came to mind.

I feel a deep gratitude that the Lord blessed my fist effort to truly humble myself and open my heart to Him. I was flooded with a profound sense of His love and, for the first time that I could remember, a peace of conscience. It was unlike anything I could imagine. It was a taste of happiness. The more I sought to open my heart and develop humility—the more I learned to just let go and turn control over to the Lord—the more that peace grew. I realized quickly that half-hearted efforts were not sufficient. I couldn’t expect the Lord to bless me with the peace I wanted, unless I was willing to completely let go of my selfish desires and surrender everything to Him. That humility and submission were the key to unlocking my peace.

The happiness I experienced, however, didn’t last. It couldn’t. I had finally obtained a peace of conscience, but without a peace of mind, I couldn’t hold onto happiness. I had to do something about my peace of mind. I know that my feelings of SSA seriously got in the way of my peace of mind. I needed the help of a competent therapist who helped me understand the root issues. However, the therapist could not give me the solutions I wanted. He didn’t know what steps I needed to take to restore my peace of mind. I sure as hell didn’t know what those steps were. If I did, I’d have taken them long ago.

I was pretty disappointed that the advice I received from other SSA friends, therapists, and priesthood leaders really didn’t work. I mean, some of it was helpful, but there simply was no formula for resolving the issues I was facing. Well, at least not that any mortal knew. My Father in Heaven knew what I needed to do. He knew the answers. I can only get them from Him. He does use many means of communicating with me: dreams, professionals, friends, priesthood leaders, good books, scriptures, direct revelation. But however He communicates with me, I absolutely have to let Him direct me in the application of the principles I learn. Whenever I try to figure things out on my own, I misapply the lessons I think I’ve learned. I am an individual. I am unique. Only God knows what I need. I only know that I need His wisdom and His guidance to know how to incorporate the things I’m being taught into my life.

As I’ve allowed God into my heart and into my mind, I have felt His guidance. He has led me to resolve the issues that interfere with my peace of mind. New things come up. Old things creep back in. But as I turn to Him, I am given solutions to my problems. If I follow those promptings, I find peace of conscience and of mind. When I have that peace, I am able to feel of the happiness that is who I am. It’s my nature. It’s me.

My heart aches for my brothers and sisters who seek to find happiness outside of Father’s plan for us. I love them. I know that they are likely finding reprieve from the conflicts and longings that have caused so much pain and suffering in their lives. I’m not judging them or condemning them. I’m happy if they feel less pain, less despair. But I am sad for them, because I know that the solutions they have chosen will never lead to lasting peace, true happiness, or full joy. Even worse, those solutions have a way of trapping individuals—of binding them with the chains of hell. Still, though, I am comforted in the knowledge that the power of Jesus Christ is greater than the power of the devil. His Atonement is strong enough to free any caught in the snares of the adversary.

I am so grateful for the Atonement. I’m even more grateful that I have learned how to access its infinite power. I know that my own imperfections and shortcomings would prevent me from finding true, lasting happiness if it weren’t for the Savior’s sacrifice. I know that not everyone who tries to keep the commandments finds happiness. I am all too personally and intimately familiar with that feeling. I am, however, also sure beyond any doubt that it is not possible to experience peace of conscience, peace of mind, or true happiness unless we are living in harmony with the commandments and constantly repenting.

I know that it is the Lord’s plan for each of His children to find peace and joy. He is anxiously waiting for us to return to Him—to allow Him to restore our peace of conscience. He is ready and willing to provide us with the solutions we need to restore our peace of mind. He is aching for us to feel the happiness and joy for which He created us. May we each humble ourselves, open our hearts, sincerely seek His guidance, and faithfully follow His counsel. May we be willing to make the changes that He suggests. I testify that as we do, He will bless us with peace and happiness. I know that this is true.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Term Paper

So, it's long. It's a paper I wrote for my Theories of Personality class. I know it's a big risk, but I trust my professor.

In Defiance of Nature: Embracing the Human Potential to Change

It’s hard to deny that our 21st century American society is highly sexualized. Sex is used in advertising to sale everything from sporting gear to alcohol. Our entertainment media, in an attempt to more accurately portray “real life,” portrays sex frequently. Despite a bitter debate about causes and effects, the facts speak for themselves. Sex has grown to be one of today’s key motivators. As a result, it is becoming rare for individuals to choose something over sex. Sex is who you are; it’s a natural urge that cannot be ignored or denied.

This is especially true when it comes to homosexuality. The homosexual individuals may be even more focused on sex and physical attractiveness than heterosexuals (Martin, Tiggemann, & Churchett, 2008). There are many different ways to conceptualize homosexual behavior and attractions. As a happily married man who also experiences homosexual attractions, I have faced many explanations and their conclusions about my behavior. In the context of personality psychology, I would like to illustrate two explanations for homosexual behavior. First, I will consider a biological approach to the issue. Then, I will examine the behavior from a social learning perspective. Finally, I will discuss the short-comings of an individual approach and suggest an additional dimension for consideration.

We often speak of sexual orientation as though it is some innate, immutable characteristic of a person’s nature. Unlike extroversion or conscientiousness, though, many understand sexual orientation to be a categorizable trait. We rarely hear an individual describe himself as scoring “relatively high for homosexuality.” We don’t talk about situational sexual orientation. One is, or one is not. This way of understanding sexual orientation rests heavily on the biological approach to personality psychology.

The biological approach to personality is founded on the idea that our physical composition, a result of genetic differences, is the primary factor in behavior. While most biological psychologists admit an interaction between an individual’s genetic code and the environment, the physiological mechanisms are still given the credit for driving the behavior. In the case of homosexuality, a biological psychologist would attempt to find physiological differences between homosexual individuals and heterosexual individuals. Findings in this area cover such differences in finger length (Kraemer et al., 2006), brain structure (Wheeler, 1991), and olfactory reception (Neff, 2005). Other biological psychologists are interested in the way a person’s environment affect the physiological underpinnings of behavior. These researchers have investigated the effect of prenatal hormone levels on sexual orientation (Meyer-Bahlburg, Dolezal, Baker, & New, 2008).

Even biological psychology has its own branches. Genetic psychology is the study of psychology in relationship to information passed from an organism to its offspring. The hallmark study of genetic psychology is the twin study. Twin studies investigate the relationship between genetic code similarities and personality or behavioral differences. Monozygotic twins share one hundred percent of their DNA. Fraternal twins on the other hand, have fifty percent of their DNA in common. By finding the correlation between the occurrence of personality traits or behavior and the level of shared DNA, biological scientists report the extent to which the trait or behavior is determined by genetic code. Twin studies show a higher occurrence of homosexuality in identical twins than dizygotic twins. The correlation between biological and adopted siblings is very low (Verweij et al., 2008). These findings lead biological scientists to conclude that homosexuality has a major genetic component.

Whether they attribute the causes to environment or genetics, biological psychologists would most likely agree that homosexuality is permanent. If an individual’s sexual attractions are directed toward the same gender, there isn’t much a person can do. In many ways, biological psychologists are entity theorists. The understanding is that an individual’s traits and predispositions are inborn and stable. An incremental theorist would argue that those aspects of personality are subject to change depending on an individual’s free will or environmental factors. Biology and physiology on the other hand are quite static; if characteristics are determined primarily by “nature,” they are also likely to remain static. Therefore to an individual conflicted over his homosexual feelings, the answer is simply to remove any values or beliefs that conflict with the desires. Change is a dangerous word in the gay world.

An alternative approach to biological psychology’s determinism is the perspective offered by social learning theorists. Dollard and Miller first proposed the idea of drives nearly fifty years ago. They defined a drive as a state of psychological tension that feels good when it is reduced. A person is then “driven” to reduce that tension by performing some action. Dollard and Miller divided drives into two separate categories. Primary drives are those drives that are innate to an individual. These are the most basic drives, such as for warmth and food. Even infants are motivated to reduce unpleasant feelings such as hunger and coldness. Other drives are learned. These secondary drives become associated with primary drives. Money can be used to provide both shelter and food, so a drive for money may become learned. Fame, power, and avoidance of fear are other examples of secondary drives. Rotter proposed that individuals learn to associate behaviors with anticipated rewards rather than actual rewards. Combining these two social learning theories, An individual can develop a secondary drive that is anticipated to reduce the tension, even if the resulting action doesn’t actually bring the desired effect.

At least one psychologist applied the social learning approach to homosexuality (Matheson, 1995). He begins with the premise that the need for same-gender acceptance and love is a primary drive. This drive is usually reduced through interaction with the same-sex parent and same-sex friends. (As a side-note this approach also incorporates Freudian thought: Freud argued that the latency stage, characterized by association with same-sex peers precedes the stage of mature sexuality.) However, some individuals fail to reduce that drive through such interaction. While not all of these individuals become homosexuals, some early experiences can create an association between homosexual behavior and a reduction of the primary drive for same-sex inclusion. This creates a secondary drive for homosexual behavior that is aimed at reducing unpleasant feelings of isolation. Whether or not these behaviors actually reduce the drive is irrelevant, according to Rotter. If they provide temporary relief of the psychological tension (as sex of any type can), or even if they are expected to reduce the discomfort associated with the primary drive, those behaviors will move up the individual’s habit hierarchy. The further up they move, the more likely an individual is to continue such behavior.
Contrary to the proposition of biological psychology, social learning theory does allow for a change in behavior. If an individual were to learn other ways to reduce the tension of the primary drive, the power of the secondary drive will be diminished. This decrease will move the behavior farther down the habit hierarchy. The associations between the tension and the homosexual behavior may never completely fade, but such behavior need not continue indefinitely. An individual wishing to change homosexual behavior would, using this approach, seek to understand the primary drives associated with the secondary drive of homosexual behavior. Once those needs are identified, the individual would seek to meet them in ways other than homosexuality. To help this process, this individual would be wise to attempt to alter his expectancies. If he views the behavior as failing to address the primary drive, his behavior will change to what he does see as successful at reducing that drive.

The problem with using only one of these approaches is that one may focus to narrowly on one aspect of the behavior and miss other essential components. Trait theory, psychoanalysis, cultural approaches, and humanism all offer unique perspectives into behavior. While it is admittedly impossible to focus on all of these approaches at the same time, an individual seeking to truly understand a behavior would consider all of these aspects. Failure to do so may lead to a sort of myopia which ignores, or even denies, key elements of human experience.
One of those key elements is the role of faith in the actions of an individual. Faith in a Higher Power can have a great effect on behavior. Often, this faith provides a deeper sense of purpose and motivation. Whether faith is passed on from parents or society, or is the product of a more individual experience, this faith can have a counter-intuitive influence on the actions of a person. Psychology as a science is reluctant to give credence to supernatural powers, which is understandable. Regardless of the nature of reality, an individual’s perception of reality is what matters most. Religious values play a role in the experience of many individuals seeking to change homosexual behavior (Spitzer, 2003). While many “realistic” psychologists may argue that suppressing homosexual tendencies will always lead to unhappiness, the reality is that individuals do change homosexual behavior and experience happiness and life-satisfaction. The role of faith in this process seems to be pivotal.

One thing that becomes clear the more one investigates behavior is the complexity of it all. There seems to be no easy answer as to the cause of behavior. The search for simple answers is futile at best. A wiser course of action would be to examine behavior from many different perspectives, searching for a more holistic solution to the question of why. While there are clearly recurring themes in human behavior, a careful and broad analysis of the unique circumstances may yield the most fruitful results in understanding and changing behavior.


Kraemer, B., Noll, T., Delsignore, A., Milos, G., Schnyder, U., & Hepp, U. (2006). Finger length ratio (2D:4D) and dimensions of sexual orientation. Neuropsychobiology, 53(4), 210-214. doi:10.1159/000094730.

Martin, Y., Tiggemann, M., & Churchett, L. (2008). The shape of things to come: gay men’s satisfaction with specific body parts. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 9, 248-256. doi:10.1037/a0012473.

Matheson, D. (1995) Pathways into homosexuality. Retrieved from

Meyer-Bahlburg, H., Dolezal, C., Baker, S., & New, M. (2008). Sexual orientation in women with classical or non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia as a function of degree of prenatal androgen excess. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 85-99. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9265-1.

Neff, L. (2005). Scents and sexuality. Advocate, (942), 34-41

Spitzer, R. (2003). Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 403-417.

Verweij, K., Shekar, S., Zietsch, B., Eaves, L., Bailey, J., Boomsma, D., et al. (2008). Genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in attitudes toward homosexuality: an australian twin study. Behavior Genetics, 38, 257-265. doi:10.1007/s10519-008-9200-9.

Wheeler, D. (1991). A researcher's claim of finding a biological basis for homosexuality rekindles debate over link. Chronicle of Higher Education, 38, A9.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'm tired today. It's been almost two months since I have felt this tired, foggy, and drained. I don't know what's up. I slept well last night, but woke up feeling drained. I don't know what's up. But I made a goal to post regularly and it's pretty much been a week. I'll write more when I have enough energy to think.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So, I'm not entirely sure what to write. It has been an interesting week. Life really is good. The challenges and stresses never seem to cease, although it does seem that they are always changing. As I figure one set of trials out and grow until I can handle them, something else always comes up and makes me grow further. I really am grateful for the plan of the Lord that is designed to maximize our growth. I'm amazed how it is possible to feel peace and joy even when life is stressful and chaotic.

I loved General Conference. It is always good to listen to the words of inspired men. I had what I consider to be a fairly odd reaction to the messages I heard. While there were many moments of inspiration and encouragement, the main impression I came away with was that I am simply not normal. That doesn't necessarily mean anything bad. I don't feel any shame or isolation as a result of that realization. I'm not beating myself up, nor am I bragging in the least. Most of what was said just didn't feel like it was directed at me. Maybe I'm just totally insensitive to the Spirit and super prideful and hardened. But I really don't feel like that.

I really do feel like the Holy Ghost was passing on a message from my Father that said, "You're doing really well. Don't get too worked up about any of these talks." I felt a lot of help accepting that message. In the past, I've had some very different reactions to General Conference talks. I used to get so caught up in the literal message--or to use King Benjamin's words, I used to trifle with the words--that I would frequently miss the message that the Lord was trying to teach me. I would get discourage when Apostles would exhort us to do better in our callings. I was already giving my best effort. Or when they would counsel us to just have faith and be obedient. I was doing the best I could and I was still miserable. Why weren't they addressing the real issues that I was dealing with? I knew that I wasn't the only one. And not just SSA. Depression, Loneliness, a lack of charity in the ward. Why were they ignoring the real problems? I was so frustrated. Could this really be God's Church, under His direction, if this is what the leaders were saying?

I've come to realize that the Lord is really, intimately involved in my life. He is willing to teach me everything I need to know. He can match his message to my exact situation. After all, He understands it better than anyone else, even better than I do. It is just interesting how often His answers to my problems are in opposition (or more often, in addition) to what is being said at the pulpit. Am I totally misunderstanding the Spirit? I have a hard time believing that. I am way too happy and I feel way too much peace.

Some might say that I've been brainwashed by the philosophies of men as I've studied psychology. I sure don't feel like that is true. I find it easy to fit what I'm learning into the framework provided by the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. It feels good and right. I just think that there are times when we need more than scripture reading, prayers, and faith. I'm not saying those things are ever unimportant and I certainly don't believe that any of them are ever harmful. But in circumstances where there is a need for additional help and counsel, focusing too much on those solutions as a panacea for all mortal problems may prevent some from receiving the help they need. Even more risky is the possibility that some individuals will give up on the Gospel because faith, prayer, and other basic answers are too often the only answers given. I see that way too often.

I don't know how many people read my blog, I bet even fewer people are still reading at this point. I feel like I'm rambling, but I guess that's kind of the whole reason I have a blog in the first place. Mostly I write just to journal and process my thoughts and feelings, but I'm really curious what my readers (if I have any) think. Is there a place for psychological principles in the lives of Latter-Day Saints? Are there times when the "basics of the gospel" are not enough to deal with the issues in our lives? If the answer is yes, how do I reconcile that with the fact that the General Authorities don't talk about more than they do? Or was my initial impression correct and I am just crazy?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So I had to change the description of my blog. Last Thursday I turned 25. Now that may seem really young to a lot of people, or really old to others, but it was interesting for me. 25 is kind of a big number in my mind. I had always set that as the point when I was no longer a young adult. I like squares, and I've always liked 5, so 5 squared has to be one of the best numbers ever! Oh, and my birthday is March 25th, so 25 has always been one of those numbers. I guess it's just that I never really imagined that I would be 25. Or any older for that matter.

It's not like being 25 is really all that much different. In fact, I felt decades younger this year than I did last year. We've figured our all my issues with sleep so that I'm no longer so ridiculously sleepy all the time. I have energy and motivation. It's great. I don't feel 70 anymore. But other than that, I'm just me. I say that I'm 25 is just a little weird for me.

Other than that, life is really good. I stay busy with school, work, and the foster kids. It's definitely been a challenge for me to force myself to take care of myself. I am so lucky that I have this incredible wife who knows me well enough to recognize when I'm running low. It's even better when she allows me--even encourages me--to take care of the things I need to. Guy time, me time, relaxation, rest, excitement, when I am taking care of myself, the rest of it kind of just falls into place. Everything doesn't necessarily just right, but I am in a lot better place to handle the issues that do come up. I have the energy and desire I need for my marriage and the kids.

Part of me taking care of myself is taking the time to really be authentic with myself. It means really paying attention to what I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. It means going past the initial thoughts and feelings and giving myself enough time to get into the deeper, underlying feelings and thoughts. Only when I'm really in touch with my whole self can I be truly content with myself. I'm not trying to suppress or hide parts of me from my consciousness. When I do that, there is always a tension. It takes a lot of energy to keep things under the surface. When I remove the walls and experience myself as a whole, I find a strength. Even if I don't particularly like all of these parts of myself(my painful emotions, my weaknesses, my imperfections), by accepting them, I receive a sense of peace and hope. That peace and hope is essential to my happiness.

Just as important as being authentic with myself is being authentic with others. The more that I allow myself to really be real with my wife or with my brothers, the more I can feel their love and acceptance. It can be really scary to be completely open and vulnerable with others, especially men. But the rewards are totally worth the risks.

Perhaps the most important relationship in which I can be authentic, is in my relationship with the Godhead. To the extent that I am not being open and honest with Heavenly Father, I close myself off from His love and support. If I am trying to hide any feeling or thought from Him, I inhibit my ability to feel the Spirit. I have to be open and truly willing to accept grace, the power of the Atonement in my life. If I am holding back, if I am trying to do things on my own, if I am not being honest about my shortcomings as well as my strengths, I limit the connection I have to my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, when I really feel that connection, when I allow myself to be open to the influence of the Godhead, it brings with it a joy and peace that help me rise above the concerns of mortality.

Authenticity prepares me to experience the greatest blessings that Heavenly Father wants to grant me. For me, authenticity makes life worth living, even if I'm 25.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Me. Today.

Balance between “me” and “family.”
A tricky dichotomy.
Horses, Guitar, Sleep.
Piano, Sax, Outside.

Time traveling.
Live in the present.

Laundry, dishes, bedroom.
Spring Break.
Two papers to write.

Time, so limited . . . too much.
Boredom: not giving myself permission to express myself.

Spring Break.
Remembering . . .
California, Wicked.
Wishing for a repeat.

Kids, Responsibility,
Longing . . .

Anger, frustration.
I try . . .
pointless, futile.
Is that all I am?

So much . . . too little.
Alone. Scared.

Open or Closed?
Heart or Mind?

Deep inside . . . Peace.

As a Dream.
Through the glass darkly.
Light. Joy. Don’t understand.

Father . . . Dad.
Brother . . . Friend.
Son . . .

Son . . .



Thursday, March 18, 2010


So, in my last post I talked about avoidance and my lack of connection with the warrior in me. I've been working on that a lot lately. I've changed up my pharmacological routine and it has really helped with my general energy level. I used to be so tired and groggy. I have noticed now that I have somewhat normal levels of alertness and energy my connection to my warrior has increased. I've got a lot more done at school, at work, around the house, in my relationships. It's really made a huge difference for me to be proactive in my relationships again. When I don't make the initiative, for whatever reason, I get discouraged about the lack of interaction I have. On the other hand, when I make that effort, I find much more meaningful connection with others. It's almost like what you get out of the relationship has something to do with what you put unto it. Who knew?

And then I looked at my blog. I have checked it darn near every week since my last post and each time had the thought, "I need to post something." And then I never do. I'm starting to get the feeling that I am avoiding blogging. The next question that comes up in my psychological mind is: Why? Well that's simple. I don't like writing about myself just to write about myself. Now, when I can convince myself that what I'm writing about can benefit someone else. . . . no problem. I can go on forever. (As you may have noticed from my previous posts.) But to write just because. . . .not so much.

I'm not sure this post will benefit anyone else. If you can't already tell, it hasn't flowed nearly as easily as my other posts. But I was determined not to give into the spirit of avoidance and just write something. And I think I've succeeded.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Deepest Fear; My Greatest Need

So, a couple of nights ago I had a pair of really vivid dreams. They both had the same theme. While there wasn't any graphic content in either one, both focused around me finding a lifetime boyfriend. They were both set shortly after my senior year of High School. In each one, I wasn't actively seeking a boyfriend, but they found me. Both guys were guys I knew from High School (mostly; I have a knack for blending people from real life into a single character in my dreams). Both guys were bigger than me, smarter than me (at least in the dream), and basically had their lives completely put together (again, in the dream). The main point in both dreams was that these guys not only had the ability to keep their act together, but still had energy, time, and love left over for me. I didn't have to worry about anything. They truly wanted me to be with them, even though they were pretty much taking care of me.

When I woke up, the feelings of those dreams were still present and still very powerful. In spite of my attempts to simply forget the dreams, the longing for that sort of relationship lingered well into the day. I was subbing at a school close to where my Dad works, so I sent him a text message asking if I could stop by his work and get a blessing. He agreed. I am so grateful for the prompting I had to ask him. I won't cheapen the sacred nature of our discussion by making it public, but I am truly, deeply thankful for that experience. I felt that our relationship was greatly strengthened and healed. I gained a new respect and appreciation for my father. He truly is a great man.

While the blessing provided a tremendous help and strength to me by lessening the intensity of the feelings and helping me refocus on what I really want and need, namely my wife and family, I still had this feeling that I still needed to resolve the issues that those dreams had brought up. It wasn't until Saturday night and on into Sunday that I was able to untangle the mess of thought and emotions. As I did, I came to a very profound understanding.

I thought about John Eldredge's claim that the central question that every man asks is "Do I have what it takes to be a man?" I realized that I am still asking that question. For a long time, I was convinced that the answer was simply "No." However, over the past couple of years, I have experienced a lot of healing of that wound. That doesn't mean that I have an affirmative answer. Not yet anyway. As I thought about how this insight related to my dreams, I realized that one of the main reasons I was so affected by those dreams had nothing to do with romance or sex. It was a feeling of relief, of relaxation and peace. I contrasted that with my usual, waking state of mind. I am almost always in a constant state of fretting about something. Usually, it has a lot to do with my ability to handle all of my duties, challenges, and obligations; to live up to all the expectations set by myself, others, and even God. It isn't that I'm sure I'm going to fail, I just don't know if I can handle it all. That is a lot of stress. It is a burden that weighs down on me constantly.

It came down to one primary question: "Do I always have to be 'the man?'" Do I always have to step up, cowboy up, soldier up, be strong, be tough? Do I have to always have to do my best, perform at the very top of my ability? Do I have to get everything done? Doesn't my failure to live up to these obligations make me less of a man? What if I don't want to always be busting my balls to live up to everything that is expected of me?

If the answer is "yes," then I want to know why I feel so daunted and overwhelmed by that task. More importantly, how do I get to a place where I am comfortable with that? It seems so foreign to my nature to always be the go getter and on top of everything. If God expects that of me, how do I get there? I have to believe that He doesnt' expect anything out of me without Him providing a way for me to do it. So, how is he going to help me? What do I need to do to access that help?

If on the other hand is, "No, I don't always have to be in control and be the strong one," then to whom to I defer that obligation? It there a specific time when deferring is acceptable? How do I do that? I know that I can not find the answer in Eve. If I turn to Eve to find my strength, it not only isn't going to work, it's going to blow up in my face hard core. It will always feel wrong and awkward and will sap what little masculine strength I do have.

I am not okay without the safety and confidence that comes from knowing I have what it takes to do all that is expected of me. When I am in a place where I feel uncertain about my capability (a place where I am almost always, even though I'm not always aware of that feeling), I am usually looking to bring some essence of masculine power into my being. It can feel so real and satisfying to try to complete myself through an intimate relationship with another man--one who is capable, powerful strong, so much so that he has time, energy and love for me. That He wants to be in that relationship with me. That he not only has the capability to compensate for my weaknesses, shortcomings, and failings, he actually wants to.

So when I was writing down those thoughts, I realized 2 things.

1) It isn't terribly likely that I am going to find a man like that. I'm not saying it is impossible. It's just that even if there is a man out there who is like that, the chances that he would go for me. . . . . pretty slim. Plus, I have a pretty damn firm testimony that that isn't going to work out like I want. I know that God's plan is for man to have a family and doesn't include romantic or sexual relationships with other men.

2) There is a Man who fits the bill perfectly. Even better, not only does an intimate relationship work in the Plan, it is the Plan.

So, I came to the conclusion that there have to be times when I can relax. When I have to be okay with the fact that I am not going to live up to every expectation. But rather than turning to another mortal man to make up for those shortcomings, I have to trust in God and my Savior. I have to turn my stress and fear over to them. I have to learn to be more understanding and forgiving of myself. I have to learn to feel His love and support; his acceptance and encouragement.

At the same time, I have to trust in His ability to transform me--over the long haul; in time; eventually--into just that sort of man. One who is perfectly capable of doing everything, having no stress about it, and still having the time, energy and love to care for others. As I learn to connect with and develop the King and Warrior that is with in me, that is part of my divine nature, I will feel more comfortable being the man I am meant to be. Until then, I have to let Him be the Man.

So my tasks from here:

1) Figure out how to transform my desires for that relationship being a sexual one with a mortal man into that of an older brother and Savior with Jesus Christ.

2) Find out how to feel of his love and support in those times when I don't have the energy to be everything, and feel his confidence and encouragement when I just don't feel like I do.

3) Learn how to access my Warrior.

4) Learn how to connect with my King.

5) Find out what this struggle is trying to tell me about my self. Eldredge claims that the Adversary has strategically placed our woulds in the place where he can best maximize the damage, where he is most likely to be able to thwart our true purpose and calling. What does that say about my purpose and calling?